Valencia - Sporting / FOTO: valenciacf.com

At the bottom, Zaragoza pulled off a shock win away to Espanyol, Sporting's problem deepen, Racing took a point against Atletico Madrid  and Villarreal and Real Sociedad both lifted themselves towards mid-table safety with their wins over Granada and Seville.

Ronaldo hat trick seals Madrid win

Cristiano Ronaldo got another hat trick to make it 27 goals in the league so far for the Madrid man, as his team came back from an early strike by Levant's  Gustavo Cabral to run out 4-2 winners. Levante hung onto fourth place though, as both Espanyol and Bilbao lost and Atletico Madrid drew. Valencia are now eight points clear of Levant and prepared for their European tie against Stoke City and the league game against Barça next weekend with an emphatic 4-0 win over the struggling Sporting, who announced the appointment of Javier Clemente as manager on Monday.

Zaragoza shock Espanyol

Just a single goal separates Levant and Espanyol, who might have expected more from their home game against Zaragoza, however the bottom club shocked Pochettino's side with two second half goals from da Silva and Juan Carlos that gave them their first away win of the season, but still leaves them nine points from salvation. Bilbao also lost the chance to overtake Levant, losing 2-1 to Betis who scored a last gasp winner through Neilson. Javi Martinez got the Basque's goal, but was sent off leaving Bielsa's team with 10 men for the last half hour.

Atletico denied in Santander

Bilbao drop to 9th, with Atletico Madrid, Malaga and Osasuna all  a point behind Espanyol and Levant and a point ahead of the Basques. Simeone's team could only take a point from their goalless game at Racing, with the home side's keeper Toño and the woodwork somehow keeping out the potent Atletico attackers. Malaga meanwhile, put their European challenge back on track with  a 3-1 win at home to Mallorca ahead of next week's visit to San Mames.

No winning start for Michel

Michel failed to make a winning start with Seville on Monday night when his team went down 2-0 at Anoeta to Real Sociedad, for whom the impressive youngster Ruben Pardo scored his debut goal in La Liga following Carlos Vela's opener. That win means Real are now 11th on 27 points, one more than Seville, who face a tough series of games against Osasuna, Valencia and Atletico Madrid before hosting Barça next month. Michel's team are level on points with Betis and Villarreal, who beat Granada 2-1, with just 4 points separating the 8 teams between 11 and 18th.

In the weekend's other game, Rayo beat Getafe, who had Michel sent off, 2-0 to move up into the top half of the table.

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